Here are this week’s Six Picks to keep you connected to the world of performing arts. Also, this week, we have a request. Please scroll down and vote for us!
Celtic Connections 2021
Jan. 15 – Feb. 1
Glasgow’s annual folk, roots, indie, world and traditional music festival takes place online for the very first time. The festival celebrates the links between Celtic music and cultures across the globe, featuring ceilidhs, workshops, talks, dancing, art exhibitions, and free events.
MLK Day: The Democracy! Suite
Sunday, Jan. 17, 4 p.m.
This celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. features The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra Septet’s performance of “The Democracy! Suite” with trumpeter and composer Wynton Marsalis. Presented by the Kentucky Performing Arts and River City Drum Corp.
We The People Inaugural Concert
Sunday, Jan. 17, 8 p.m.
The Biden Inaugural Committee announced their upcoming virtual concert, featuring performances from Carole King, James Taylor, Fall Out Boy, Will I Am, and more. Comedian Keegan-Michael Key and actress Debra Messing will host, and stars like Connie Britton, Kal Penn, Sophia Bush and Jamie Camil will all make special appearances. To stream the show, you can make a donation of any amount through ActBlue.
Penobscot Theatre Company
Thurs., Jan. 21, 7 p.m.
Our friends at Penobscot Theatre Company present, Flyin’ Solo! Join 12 actors (rotating each night) as they explore personal stories told with humor and heart. PTC is bringing you autobiographical theatrical memoirs unlike anything you have ever seen. Flyin’ Solo empowers the unique voices of diverse casts who have written and will be performing these humorous and dramatically compelling pieces.
MasterVoices presents Myths and Hymns
Watch Chapter 1 Flight now!
See award-winning composer Adam Guettel’s kaleidoscopic collection of musical genres, weaving together R&B, pop, gospel and classical with musical theater. This wholly digital staging features the entire MasterVoices Chorus along with acclaimed soloists, directors, animators, and illustrators from the worlds of theater, opera, television, and film.
Best Symphonies: Top 10 Greatest Masterpieces
See if you agree with udiscovermusic’s list of the top 10 greatest masterpieces! From Mozart to Beethoven to Manher, you’ll enjoy these selections that showcase the symphony in its most glorious forms.
Vote for us!
The University of Maine has been selected as a finalist for Paciolan’s “Innovation of the Year” award for utilizing the Collins Center for the Arts’ and Maine Black Bears’ ticketing system in support of the University’s COVID-19 testing program. Paciolan is a leader in ticketing solutions, powering more than 500 live entertainment organizations that sell more than 120 million tickets per year. The awards acknowledge organizations that exceeded expectations and achieved uncommon results. Winners are determined by the most number of votes submitted at the Paciolan website. Voting closes on Friday, Jan. 22 and winners will be honored at a virtual ceremony on Tuesday, February 23.
Take Care of This House: A Brief History of a Showtune We Should All Listen to Today
In 1976, Leonard Bernstein and Alan Jay Lerner debuted their musical 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on Broadway at the Mark Hellinger Theatre (now the Times Square Church). It was Bernstein’s last original Broadway score, and the show, co-directed and co-choreographed by Gilbert Moses and George Faison after the original creative team departed out-of-town, was a massive flop, closing after 13 previews and seven performances.
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is a retelling of the first 100 years of White House through the eyes of its main residents: the presidents and first ladies, and three generations of their Black serving staff. One actor plays all of the presidents, one actor plays all of the first ladies, one actor plays male servant Lud, one actor plays female servant Seena. Presented in a bicentennial year, audiences expected a rah-rah show of patriotism; what they got was an ahead-of-its-time indictment of the racism that has pervaded the United States since its creation. Critics, naturally, thought it was too preachy and superficial.
Though the show disappeared awfully fast, several of its songs have survived to become seminal texts in the “Great American Songbook.” Chief among them is a song I’ve been thinking about a lot over the past 24 hours, “Take Care of This House.” In the context of the show, the song finds Abigail Adams (originally played by Patricia Routledge) giving instructions to Lud (Gilbert Price) on the day-to-day care of the White House. But, naturally, it’s a metaphor for preserving the sanctity of the Republic:
Take care of this house
Keep it from harm
If bandits break in sound the alarm
Care for this house
Shine it by hand
And keep it so clean
The glow can be seen all over the land.
After the shameful events yesterday at the Capitol, the message of this song has never felt timelier. History will not look kindly on what took place, but the beacon of light that is our country still stands. And while it might seem dark now, there is a new day ahead.
Click on the link to watch Cynthia Erivo perform this number from Leonard Bernstein and Alan Jay Lerner’s 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Bonus pick content was reprinted from the website TheaterMania.